Getting Robbed in Kigali

We got robbed. It sucked, but the events that transpired were unbelievable.

One of the biggest fears/concerns for any traveler is getting robbed. We all go into any travel experience with the hopes that our life and our valuables will always be safe. We considered ourselves safe and aware travelers, me a bit more than Matt, but overall pretty aware of our surroundings.

It was our 2nd evening in Kigali, and we had gone to eat at the UTC Buffet with our friends Willy and Laura. It’s very common for buildings in Kigali to have X-ray security at the entrance doors. Usually, we both stuff all our valuable items into the bottom or our backpacks or Matt sometimes carries his phone & wallet in his buttoned pockets. As we went through the security he emptied his pockets and placed them in the basket. When he picked them up on the other side he, thinking it would just be for a minute, put his phone on the outside side pouch of his backpack. He then forgot to move his phone to the inside of his backpack when we sat down.

Matt noticed after we were done eating that his phone was missing. Once we looked and could not find it, we all realized we had been robbed. Naturally, we all started coming up with ideas on what could have happened and who did it. Everyone not at our table was a suspect. Of course, not one of our scenarios came close to what really happened. Luckily, we noticed a surveillance camera pointing over the eating area and crossed our fingers that it was a working camera. We located the mall management and what transpired was an evening straight out of a spy movie.

In comes the thief (we named him Mr. Red and White) who jacked Matt’s phone right under all of our noses. We were all sitting at the table eating to our hearts content with no idea we were being watched by a pair of thieves. Not only does the video clearly show Mr. Red and White lifting the phone, but also by viewing the other surveillance footage from all the building security cameras we were able to see that he and his partner (we named him Table Guy) saw Matt walk in and stalked him to steal his phone. Watch the video and notice the solo guy at the table to our left. He is Mr. Red and White’s partner. Mr. Red and White then moves into position and Table Guy served as his eyes and tells him when we are all not paying attention.

Phone Theif

If that weren’t all exciting enough enter no name undercover spy guy who we named J.B. Bruchette. This is when the evening went from bad to unbelievably cool. The building manager said he knew a guy that could help and called a man with no name. An hour or so later in walks Bruchette. We all laugh about it now, but this guy walked into the security office and all 4 of us were in instant awe. Just his presence was straight out of a James Bond or some sort of spy movie. He barely spoke or made eye contact with us, but we all could feel this guy was cool as cool could be. He was mesmerizing, and we all couldn’t stop staring at him. Each one of us attempted to memorize his face to see if we could ever recognize him again.

He watched the video and said he knew the man and knew where he frequented. He said he would look for him and let us know if anything further transpired. We then asked him to show us where we needed to go in the morning to file a police report, and he said he would ride with us to show us. First, we had to take him to get his bag that he had left behind to come and assist us. As part of his cover he has a day job on the streets, we cannot tell you what he does because that would blow his cover but it was cool! We pull up to the day job location and it looked abandoned and out from the shadows pops one of his counterparts. He and Bruchette had a few words. We like to think Bruchette was telling him not to hurt us because we were their new clients or something spy fanatical like that. Most likely he was telling him we were the idiots that got our phones stolen. Whatever it may have been we got the head nod from his counter part and Bruchette got his bag.

We offered him a ride home, and he accepted. We were all super giddy thinking we would get to see where a spy lived in Kigali. We bombarded him with questions, which he graciously answered. He entered the business after he served as a soldier, he has a family but didn’t elaborate, he is able to arrest a suspect on the spot and he has done it several times and being a soldier was much more dangerous than what he does now. We let him know he was the new Kigali James Bond, and he smiled. We all burst out giggling when he smiled; we thought we had broken the code to life or something. As we approached an intersection he let Willy know to drop him there. Obviously, any spy would not show you his home. But still we had hoped. We aren’t sure if it was even near his home or if he was just sick of all of us acting like 10 year olds.

Bruchette left our car, and no kidding he disappeared into the darkness of the night within seconds. Our night of getting robbed turned into a scenario straight out of a spy movie, and we were the costars. We have looked for Bruchette on the streets with no avail. We joke he is lurking in the shadows watching us to make sure we don’t make stupid choices again. He is our Kigali secret spy hero.

Have you had a bad situation turn into a funny story? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Our Travelationship in Review: April - August, 2015 - Travelationship

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      Paul, It was quite the ordeal and I have yet to get my phone back. However, they have added a second agent to the hunt for the thief, so I wouldn’t want to be him right now.

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